While visiting the newly rearranged Stuart Sew and Vac in Jensen Beach, Florida, I came across the Juki HZL K85, a computerized sewing and quilting machine.
The HZL K 85 is part of the Juki K series, which includes the HZL K65, a slightly smaller machine with many of the same features, but fewer stitch options.
At A Glance
The first thing I noticed on the Juki HZL K85 was the large navy blue and silver stitch selection guide on the right column along with a backlit LCD screen and a series of function control buttons and levers.
The function control buttons and sliders on the column include stitch selection; stitch width and length adjustment; two separate lock stitch control buttons; needle up/down; buttons to store and clear stitch memory; and a shift key which enables users to shift between stitches on the upper and lower rows depicted on the graphic display.
There is also a variable speed control slider; a see through bobbin cover; an on board needle threader; on board threading guides; reverse button; and a needle plate with seam guides on both sides of the needle and a tension adjustment dial which is used only on very rare occasions. In most cases, when set in the ‘auto’ position, the tension setting adjusts itself automatically.
- 150 decorative and utility stitch options
- 1 alphanumeric font
- 8 automatic one step buttonholes
- 12 utility stitches
- 129 decorative stitch patterns
- LED lighting
- 2 lock stitch settings
- Needle up/down
- 15 needle positions
- Automatic tension adjustment
- Automatic needle threader
- Color coded start/stop button displays status of machine
- Ability to combine letters and one point stitches
- Free arm
- On board stitch combination memory
- Monochromatic LCD screen
- Drop in bobbin
- Drop feed
- On board accessory storage
- Variable speed control slider
- Reverse stitch
Working on the Juki HZL K85
The clearly marked, easy to read threading guides and guides for winding the bobbin and inserting it are so simple that following them could almost be interpreted as child’s play.
When choosing a stitch, simply press the up/down arrows until the desired stitch number appears in the window. Once the stitch number is visible, simply press the start/stop or the foot pedal.
If you want to select a stitch number higher than 30, you are first required to depress the shift key. When switching back to stitches assigned to numbers below 30 it is necessary to press the shift key once again.
For this review, I sampled several decorative and utility stitches and found that the stitch selection process is only a little bit cumbersome.
It is necessary to toggle the up and down arrows from one through 9 in the unit position, which can tend to be a bit tedious. For instance, if I choose stitch number 8, I would have to dial the arrow in the left position to 0 and the arrow in the right position to 5.
If I choose to go from there to stitch number 20, I must push the arrow on the left until the 2 appears and the button on the right until I get to 0.
The tedium of the stitch selection process, however, is a minor inconvenience when you consider the fact that the quality of the stitches produced by the Juki HZL K85 is excellent.
Each of the stitches I sampled turned out to be perfectly formed, secure and stable in every way.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- Snap on presser feet
- Standard foot
- Automatic buttonhole foot
- Manual buttonhole foot
- Zipper foot
- Overcasting foot
- Quilting foot
- Blind hem foot
- Oil dispenser
- Spool pin
- T-shaped screwdriver
- Quilt guide
- Seam ripper/lint brush
- 3 Bobbins
- 3 Spool caps (1small/1 medium/1 large)
- Extra needles
- Hard cover
|After each use||Monthly*||Once Each Year**||As Needed|
|Clean race hook and feed dogs|
|Wipe head with soft dry cloth|
|Wipe head with soft damp cloth|
|Service by sewing machine repair professional|
Tying Off The Loose Ends
For the most part, the Juki HZL K65 is a great sewing machine – especially where it counts. The quality of the stitches is superb. I’m not exactly thrilled about the quality of the stitches; nor am I pleased with the placement of the drop feed control lever.
It is impossible to reach it without first removing the accessory case, exposing the free arm. Having the drop feed control in this position may be convenient when attaching buttons, especially to sleeve cuffs; but when working with large free motion sewing projects where the maximum amount of work space is essential, this could be a major inconvenience.
Some might argue that it takes only a few seconds to remove the accessory case and slip it back into place.
My feeling, however, is that time in the sewing room is valuable and should be used as efficiently as possible. Anything that consumes even a few seconds unnecessarily is a waste of one of the most valuable resources in any sewing room… time to be productive.
My only other complaint about the Juki HZL K85 is the stitch selection process, and for the very same reason I don’t care for the placement of the drop feed control mechanism.
When you have to stop repeatedly press buttons in order to do something as simple as changing a stitch selection from one setting to another, you can waste a whole lot of valuable time each time you sit down to use this machine. The primary redeeming quality of the Juki HZL K85 is the superior stitch quality.
Other attributes include the solid construction, the quiet operation and the fact that there is virtually no vibration whatsoever when the machine is running, even when sewing at the highest speed setting.
When I stop to consider these very important qualities, I must admit that even though there are two things that I am not particularly fond of on this machine, the good far outweighs the bad.
For this reason, I think the Juki HZL K85 is, indeed a sewing and quilting machine worth adding to certain sewing rooms. I sincerely believe this is a very good machine, one that is capable of providing many years of great service.
With this in mind, I do not recommend the Juki HZL K85 for anyone who has an extremely busy lifestyle and therefore, is constantly under the gun to get in and out of the sewing room as quickly as possible.
It is, however, a great choice for the person who has the luxury of being able to spend countless hours in the sewing room with very little else to do with their day.
I think the Juki HZL K85 is good to use for children who are learning how to sew, but anyone above the age of 12 or 13 would be able to benefit from its use.
The Juki HZL K85 is easy to learn to use, although I think the extra steps involved with shifting to gain access to stitch options in the upper range is yet one more unnecessary step.
When it’s all said and done, the Juki HZL K85 is a machine that needs to be seen before a final decision to purchase is made. I like it, but not for myself.
I truly believe that there are millions of people who would be absolutely thrilled to have this machine in their own sewing rooms.
I strongly urge anyone who might be the slightest bit interested in this excellent sewing and quilting machine to take the time to visit an authorized Juki dealer in their local area to see it for themselves.
Ask for a demonstration and play around with it for a little while. Get accustomed to working with the stitch selection buttons and play around with the many different stitch options.
See for yourself if this is the machine for you and make your own decision as to whether or not it would be a good fit for you and your own personal style.
- Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
- Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
- Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
- Solid construction
- Excellent stitch quality
- Tedious stitch selection process
- Placement of the drop feed control